Feedstock Development projects

Best Practices for Multi-Use of Miscanthus Feedstock Production Landscapes

This research is creating a multi-use landscape management tool to determine the best practices for Miscanthus feedstock production landscapes. The team is developing spatiotemporal production functions for biodiversity and ecosystem services economics and will use these functions to create a dynamic modeling tool. By combining empirical data with ecological and economic theories and models, the model will allow stakeholders to visualize and quantify the tradeoffs of Miscanthus expansion compared to other agricultural and biofuel crops; identify the optimal landscape configurations, growing sites, and field sizes for future feedstock production; and obtain estimates of the social and environmental effects of Miscanthus introduction.

project Highlights

2012 Highlights

We spent 2012 investigating the potential impacts of bioenergy feedstock production on biodiversity. We have completed one study and made substantial progress on a second. The first study focused on quantifying the impact of perennial energy crop production on “species of conservation concern” within the contiguous U.S. Using an optimization framework, we linked species occurrence data (county-level resolution) with a stylized economic model of feedstock production to highlight potential tradeoffs between biofuel production and species conservation. We found that placing greater importance on species conservation would concentrate feedstock production in relatively fewer counties and on agricultural land with higher economic opportunity costs. In the second study, we are developing a spatially explicit bioeconomic statistical model for estimating the relationship between corn-ethanol production and grassland bird diversity in the U.S. We are determining two distinct relationships: first, the extent to which higher corn prices, driven in part by increased demand for ethanol, have increased total cropland acreage in the Midwest, and second, a species-cropland area relationship for grassland species of conservation concern. Both of these studies highlight the importance of species conservation in developing sustainable bioenergy production systems.

Publications

Published in 2012

Harvesting Carbon from Eastern U.S. Forests: Opportunities and Impacts of an Expanding Bioenergy Industry, S. C. Davies, M. Dietze, E. DeLucia, C. Field, S. P. Hamburg, S. Loarie, W. Parton, M. Potts, B. Ramage, D. Wang, H. Youngs, S. P. Long, Forests 3: 370-397.


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